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Written: April 24, 2008 - page 16 / 31

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CHAPTER 2:  LAUNCH SEQUENCE

Time to Launch:  T-5 Minutes

A. ANTENNA ORIENTATION

Check the latest surface observations and note the wind direction and speed.  The antenna will need to be moved and elevated in the TRS Display before launching.  The antenna should be pointed in the DIRECTION THE BALLOON WILL TRAVEL (180 degrees from the wind direction).  Elevation angle is dependent on wind speed and how high the balloon will go initially.  Do not elevate the antenna higher than 35-40 degrees.  Light winds will have higher elevations, while stronger winds will be lower.  If there are light winds but higher gusts, base the elevation angle on the strength and frequency of the gusts.  Table 2-1 shows the recommended elevations for various wind speeds.  

Wind Speed (kts)

Elevation Angle (deg)

0-9

32-40

10-14

25-31

15-22

20-25

25 or greater

10-20

Table 2.1—Recommended TRS elevation angles for various wind speeds.

For example, for a west wind (270 degrees), at 15 kts, the antenna should be pointed at “090” degrees and an elevation of between 20-25 degrees.  Make sure the “AFC” box is activated.  Also, check to make sure that the TAP product was issued.  Proceed to the inflation shelter.

B. FINAL  PREPARATIONS

Place the radiosonde inside the bucket (or whatever “ready” platform) is used.  DO NOT place the sonde directly on the ground.

Inspect the balloon to ensure it has not leaked.  Inspect the parachute and flight train/train regulator.  If a flight train was not prepared earlier, do so now.  See Chapter 1, Part B for instructions on using a train regulator.  If NOT using a train regulator, pull out 70-120 feet of string.  

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